He's having that dream again.
After nearly a decade together Yang knows the triggers for his nightmares. He shivers in his sleep and murmurs incoherent sentences when he is having unpleasant dreams, and after all these years there is nothing she can do to stop them, only help him wake up and ground him.
When they first got together she would ask him what the nightmares were about, he would smile and tell her it was nothing before getting out of bed and starting his day. Over the years he opened up to her after her constant requests for him to let her in. He told her about what his 'nightmares' consisted of.
His nightmares were all the same. He couldn't save her. In the beginning he never told her who he couldn't save. But she knew. She knew he would never forget the day when his world was torn from him. He was alone in a sense, and Yang knew that she could never fully understand what he went through that day. Her team was still there. He was the last remnants of a dead team.
At the age of 22 Yang was happy, content with the way life had turned out for herself. She had made it. Beacon was a time in the past and being a huntress was her future. Her friends and sister by her side and a deadly and dangerous future ahead, things were in her opinion looking up.
The first few months were the hardest. Even though they were a team of 4, most assignments and missions called for teams of 2. So even though the 4 of them were sent only 2 were needed, and at first it seemed like a godsend. One duo went on assignment where the other were free until they came back. It wasn't until the assignments came few and far between that the rifts started to appear, tensions were high and there was no respite in the monotonous waiting game they found themselves in.
That day had been the 14th in a long wait for a mission and Yang was fairing no better than her teammates. When the call came for their whole team to gear up and prepare for their emergency assignment they should have thought about it, but after 2 weeks of waiting being patient and paying attention gave way for sudden excitement and without considering the 'emergency' aspect of the assignment they set out.
Yang spent the trip anxiously waiting to get out of the airship and pummel something. Constant chatter permeated the air of the enclosed space as the rest of the Team RWBY discussed the plan for the umpteenth time on the way over. She was just itching to get fighting again and couldn't wait to tell the soldiers at the base what a badass she was this day.
The mission was clear, link up with the advanced team and get them back to the extraction zone. The team already out in the field went dark after calling for pickup so Team RWBY were sent for pickup.
The silence should have been her first clue to how bad this was. A Grimm infested forest shouldn't have been this quiet with the amount of predicted Grimm in the area. This part of vale was known for its larger than average Ursa packs which meant that teams were sent regularly to keep the population down to a reasonable level.
The assignment called for Team RWBY to travel to the last known position of the advanced team and locate them. The forest was dark. Much darker than they would have thought, the trees blocking out much of the midday sun from hitting them, making the humidity almost unbearable.
Yang felt it before they saw it. A sense of dread and despair filled her as they entered a clearing. A broken blade lay on the ground surrounded by tattered clothing and empty casings. What worried Yang was the blood. So much blood. It layered the ground below them like a quagmire of red and crimson. generously splattered across the floor and trees. It made her sick. Empty. Thats how she felt when she saw it. A severed arm adorned with black material and simple white armor. She knew that armor. Her heart rate spiked as she searched the tree line for anything else.
The bodies of Nora and Ren were found just inside the tree line. It wasn't the first human corpse she had seen but it was one of the most unbearable images burned into her brain. They looked like they were sleeping, if you ignored the blood soaked clothing and open chest cavities. It made her physically sick to see two of her friends dead. She knew it was a possibility for all of them but seeing people she knew was a hard hit. The rest of them took it differently, Ruby vomited on the ground when she saw what Yang had found whereas Weiss and Blake had stood frozen.
The silence was broken by a roar in the distance. Running through the thick brush the only thoughts going through her head were if Nora and Ren were here then the roar in the distance must be Jaune and Pyrrah. They heard the battle before witnessing it. The pounding of paws hitting the ground and the sharp crack of shield impacts rang through the air as they entered another clearing.
Yang saw him first. Standing with shield in hand protecting his partners body. Its then she noticed the bloody stump where his arm should be bleeding profusely. Then she noticed the Grimm bodies surrounding him and the Ursa he was fighting. Using the last of his energy he struck the Ursa with the edge of his shield with enough force to knock the beast on its back. Climbing the body he brought his shield high above his head and smashed the edge against the its neck, the snapping of its spine snapped Yang out of her stupor to see Jaune bloody and pale crawl over to his partner and cradle her dying body in his arms.
She still remembers what Jaune said to Pyrrah as she lay their dying.
"Hey Pyrrah, keep those eyes open" His voice wavered as Pyrrah fought to keep her gaze on him.
"Common, we still haven't perfected that jam recipe we started" Yang heard the light giggle from the red head at his joke. She knew Pyrrah didn't have long.
"I'm here Pyrrah. I'm not going anywhere" His eyes pleading with her as she took her last breaths.
"You have to tell her Jaune. You'll need her" Yang swallowed hard as she heard the girls last words. She saw her breathing even out then stop all together.
"Pyrrah? No. Come on stay with me. You can't leave me now, what happened to doing it together. I need you here" Jaunes voice broke when he finished. His loud sobs echoed in the empty clearing as he held his partner close to him, her blood seeping into his clothes.
Yang remembers that day vividly. She knew what it did to him. He lost everything that day. His arm, his friends and the person closest to him, gone in the blink of an eye. From that day Yang didn't leave Jaunes side until he was able to live easily.
The first months were the hardest for him. Yang had to watch him cry himself to sleep, she had to watch him live a life without the use of both his arms, she watched him drown himself in his memories. She remembers the day when he broke down completely. He had returned to Beacon by request of Professor Ozpin, he had not told them why. The pair of them had arrived earlier than planned and ended up eating in the cafeteria with the first years.
She noticed he wasn't eating. She noticed a lot of things over the 2 years she spent with him. The way he had filled out since attending Beacon, his once smooth skin marred by small scars and his face once full of life and vibrancy now hard and angular. She noticed his happy go lucky attitude had toned down and it was harder to make him smile than before, but she can still get him laughing. She noticed the way he walked with a cane like Ozpin did, and the way he used it like he would a sword.
Their meal was going well for a while. She managed to get a few smiles out of him when she regaled stories of herself as a young girl constantly tormenting her younger sister, stories of when she nearly burnt her house down and even the story of when she threw up on a boy she was about to kiss. He laughed at that one. Yang loved his laugh. Loud and bellowing much unlike when she first met him.
The mood shifted when she noticed a young man tap Jaune on the shoulder. He stood anxiously waiting for his reaction. Yang saw Jaune plaster on the fake smile he wears in public and turn to face the young man next to him.
The question was innocent enough. He asked if Jaune was a hunter and if that was how he lost his arm. Yang could see his face tense and his jaw lock, to anyone else he would look calm and collected but Yang knew these signs, he was on the verge of a breakdown in the middle of the school. Jaune stood and as calmly as possible walked out the room, cane gripped firmly in his hand. The young man bristled with his apparent rejection and muttered under his breath 'asshole'.
Yang didn't know what came over her, she grabbed the kid by his neck and slammed him into the table. The kid trembled under her harsh glare, red eyed and more angry than before she yelled in the kids face, spewing out harsh retorts for his lack of tact and threatening bodily harm if she ever saw him again. And with that she ran from the room looking for her fragile friend.
Yang found him after hours of searching, on the dorms roof. He sat on the edge, legs swinging over with his cane resting beside him. He barely noticed her when she sat next to him. They sat there for what seemed hours before he spoke.
"This was the place where we could come to practice" She didn't need to know who he was talking about. She knew.
"We would come up here and train until we could barely lift our arms. We would come up here when one of us was having a bad day and let the other vent in whatever way they wanted". Yang remembers this pause. Jaune looked at her when he started speaking again and never stopped until he finished what he had to say.
"We would come up here just to talk about things. It was here I told her about things that crossed my mind and things I bottled up. It was here I told her about the girl I fell in love with. She knew it wasn't her, as soon as I mentioned her eyes she just grinned at me and let me continue my rant about how beautiful she was and how I wished she took me seriously, and then she just said good luck"
"And every time she would see me up here she would ask if I told her yet and I would say 'I was working on it'"
"And before we left Beacon she brought me up here and told me to do it before we left, otherwise I would regret it. And I nearly did, but when I was about to her team took her away and I lost my nerve"
Yang remembered the leaving ceremony Beacon held for their class. She had been waiting in the wings away from everybody to get ready. It was the only time she was nervous, after that day she would be a huntress and her life was about to change. Thats when Ruby and Blake stormed through and tore her from her thoughts and back to where they were waiting. On the way she turned and saw Jaune looking dejected before walking back to his team and Pyrrah patting his shoulder.
Then it clicked. His words stole the air from her lungs and made her limbs numb. Yang finally understood Pyrrahs final words 'You'll need her'. She was there for Jaune without his asking, she knew he would need somebody and who else but her, the light of everybody's life. She hadn't realized he was watching her until she looked at him. He gave her one of his honest smiles and continued speaking.
"And now you probably want nothing to do with me. I mean who wants to be with a man with one arm? It's not like you..." She stopped his rambling with her lips.
She still remembers his smile when she stopped kissing him. A broad smile that stretched from ear to ear. She hadn't seen that smile in years and it was only for her now. They would talk about it further later, they had a meeting to get to.
And that was the start of what they have now. The meeting was to introduce Jaune to a new teaching position. Ozpin told him it was because he had a sound strategic mind and the experience to teach others what he had learned, but they all knew he was giving Jaune a second chance at a life he couldn't be a part of. Jaune had only one condition for his position, if Yang could also have a class to teach.
Days turned to months and months to years and with them Yang and Jaune grew closer during their tenure at Beacon. It being a school, many students caught onto the relationship quickly and hounded their instructors for more details on their lives together. And each time they were sent away disheartened with no information. It wasn't until a student noticed a plain golden band on Yang's finger that the news spread. It took a while but they had made it, together.
And now Yang lays next to her husband shake in his dreams. No matter the joy he now feels, his subconscious torments him with a past that will never leave him. Jaune wakes with a start and locks eyes with her and calms immediately. She cups his face and rests her forehead against his silently grounding him to her so his mind doesn't run away with him. He opens his eyes, blue into lilac and his breathing calms as he continues to look into her eyes.
"I'm sorry Yang" Yang shakes her head, even when he doesn't need to apologies he does.
"Don't apologize Jaune, it's not your fault" She rests her head on his chest, hearing the erratic beating of his heart slowly calm and return to its normal rhythm.
The silence is broken by quiet cries and Jaune gently leaves the bed to sooth the baby resting in the other room. Children weren't something Yang had thought she wanted, sure they were adorable but living the life she thought she was going to live never let the possibility of kids happening. But now with the certainty that working in a school wasn't nearly as hazardous to her health as fighting Grimm, it became apparent that it was something she wanted. And who knew she wanted to make those children with the blond knight she laughed at years ago.
Yang is brought out of her thoughts by the soft voice of her husband talking to her daughter. She hears his voice getting louder as he gets closer to their room. As he enters she sees the bundle of pink blankets resting in the crook of his neck, his hand braced against her back. It took a while for Jaune to be comfortable holding his daughter with only one hand but now it seemed like second nature. As he reached the bed Yang sat up and gestured for her husband to pass their child to her.
Now with her baby resting against her chest and her husband at her side she can finally let herself drift off to sleep. It's Jaunes voice that breaks the peaceful silence.
"I love you June, I won't let anything take you away from us. Me and your mama are going to watch you until you have to beat up away with sticks"
Yang's smile was still there when she woke in the morning.